DARWIN, -- The Royal Australian Navy’s largest maritime warfare exercise is set to kick off next week off the coast of Darwin.
Exercise KAKADU, held from 12 to 24 September 2016, will involve 19 ships and submarines, 18 aircraft and more than 3000 personnel from 19 Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean navies and air forces.
Held biennially, Exercise KAKADU is the Australian Navy’s premier international engagement activity, developing interoperability between nations in the maritime and air domains, and providing training opportunities for maritime security and surveillance.
The Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, described the importance of Exercise KAKADU 2016 in enhancing and strengthening relationships between the participating nations.
“Each nation brings a wealth of experience to the Exercise, providing a valuable opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and build our skills in protecting the maritime domain.
“2016 marks the 13th iteration of Exercise KAKADU, and this year sees warships and aircraft from Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the United States, working alongside Australian Navy and Air Force assets and observers from Fiji, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vietnam.
“Darwin has been home to Exercise KAKADU since its inception, and as one of the largest exercises of its type in the Indo Pacific region, highlights the critical place that northern Australia plays in supporting ADF operations,” Rear Admiral Mayer said.
The Exercise will commence with a harbour phase for planning and simulation, before moving into a sea phase where the ships and aircraft will divide into several multi-national task groups to practice various scenarios, culminating in a task group vs. task group ‘free play’.
The Royal Canadian Navy ship, HMCS Vancouver prepares to berth behind Japanese Navy ship, JS Fuyuzuki at Fort Hill Wharf after arriving in Darwin to take part in Exercise KAKADU 2016.